Review by Link165
"A fantastic addition to the Zelda series"
Two Legend of Zelda Games were released for the Nintendo 64. The first one, Ocarina of Time, is the much better known one for its new 3d, Z-targeting, camera, and its unbelievable sidequests, story, and huge world. Majora's Mask was released a little bit later, and Majora's Mask is often overshadowed by Ocarina of Time. While I admit Ocarina of Time is probably the better game, Majora's Mask is a game that nobody should forget about and is a masterpiece all by itself.
It would probably be better for this review if the story was covered first.
Majora's Mask takes place from where we left off after Ocarina of Time. Link is riding in the Lost Woods(or an area similar to it, and note that this specific area of the woods was NOT accessible in Ocarina of Time) on his horse Epona. Link is looking for an old friend, more likely then not his fairy partner Navi from Ocarina of Time. Link is knocked off of his horse by a Skull Kid wearing a strange mask. This Skull Kid is accompanied by two fairies, a light one named Tatl and a Dark(purple) one named Tael(ironic names huh?).
While Link is on the ground, the Skull Kid searches through Links stuff and finds the Ocarina of Time and plays around with it. When Skull Kid takes Epona, Link grabs on, but eventually loses his grip of Epona. The four go into a tunnel, and here is where you get control of Link, you simply walk into the tunnel. After catching up with Skull Kid and the two fairies(Epona is gone), the Skull Kid uses his magical powers to....turn you into a deku scrub! Just then, Tatl is separated from Tael and Skull Kid, and becomes your fairy guide in Majora's Mask. After some platform jumping, you'll end up in a small room under the Clock Tower with the Happy Mask Dealer from Ocarina of Time the sole occupant. He knows how to turn you back to normal. You emerge from the room...and... you get a feeling you are not in Hyrule anymore. Indeed, you are now in a land similar to Hyrule, called Termina. Specifically, you are in Termina's main city, called Clock Town. After a whole lot of playing, you learn that Skull Kid is using the power of the mask, called Majora's Mask, to send the moon crashing down onto Termina in just three days. It's Links job to stop it!
As mentioned above, Majora's Mask(MM) takes place in an alternate world, called Termina. Also mentioned above, you have three days before the moon crashes(and the Happy Mask Man says at the beginning he is leaving in three days so get the mask back to him before that time). The time in game is tracked by a half-circle shaped clock on the bottom of the screen. The clock is NOT real time, just so you know. When the three days are close to up, you must play the Song of Time to go back to the Dawn of Day One(you can play this song anytime you want). When you do, you lose all small items you had. You keep the bomb bag, but you lose the bombs. You keep the bow, but you lose the arrows, etc etc. Unless you store your rupees in a bank in the western part of Clock Town, you lose them too. Also, if you are in the middle of a dungeon, you lose all of that dungeon progress and must start it over. You also lose the effects of beating the boss. For example, the problem with Snowhead in the game is there is a permanent winter on the mountains. When you beat the dungeon boss, spring will return to snowhead. When you play the Song of Time, winter will once again rule the mountains, and you must beat the boss again to restore spring. But wait, before you pee your pants, let me explain.
You don't have to beat the whole dungeon again. You see, Nintendo programmed this little feature in the game. At the entrance of each dungeon is a small portal. This portal instantly warps you to the boss battle and this portal activates after you beat the boss for the first time. Either way, the dungeon remains completed. And also note it is not REQUIRED to re-beat the bosses to beat the final boss. Ok, now that this confusing part is clarified, let's move on.
Majora's Mask is a very short game compared to Ocarina of Time. There are only four dungeons in the game, compared to Ocarina of Time's eight(nine if you count Ganon's Tower). You may now be thinking "Why should I bother playing a game that is so short?
I have the answer for you. Sidequests. All Zelda games have had replayability. Collecting Heart Pieces, Trading sequences, etc. Majora's Mask has much,much more then just that.
Masks have an important role in Majora's Mask. There are a few Masks that can turn you into a Goron, a Deku Scrub, and a Zora. Most of the sidequests in this game will get you masks. Different Masks do different things. The Romani Mask allows you to get into a Milk Bar in Clock Town. The Bunny Hood makes Link run faster. The Deku, Goron, and Zora Masks turn Link into a Scrub,Goron, and Zora respectively. Each different Link form can do different things(the Goron is strong and can roll, the Zora can walk underwater, etc). Collecting all of the masks in the game will get you an ultra-powerful mask at the end of the game, although I won't spoil it for you what it does(though you probably know already anyway).
Another difference from OOT is the save system. This is a huge, huge downgrade from what was in every other zelda game. There are two primary ways to save. You can play the Song of Time, which will save your game when you go back to day one. However, as noted above, you will lose all of the effects you have made on the area after beating that specific area's dungeon boss, and all the small items. The other way is the owl system. Scattered across Termina are several owl statues. Once you "activate" them as Link, you can save and quit on these statues. However, the save is only good once. Let me explain this.
Lets say I were to get to day three and play the Song of time. Then, before my three days are up, I beat the first dungeon. I decide that I've had enough playing for a bit. I find an owl statue, and then save and quit the game.
Later, I come back to play. I open up my file(also note that unlike past Zelda games, you can only have TWO save files instead of the usual three). I know it's an owl save because of a small owl logo next to my file name. The game places me where I saved at the statue. I play a little WITHOUT using the Song of Time. Then, hypothetically, something happens. Whether it's my little brother turning the game off because he's pissed at me, me accidentally kicking the cartridge and freezing the game, the game just freezing, or the N64 becoming unplugged, something happens that forces me to restart the N64 and reopen my file. I notice that I'm in Clock Town on day one...AND I'VE LOST ALL PROGRESS THAT I HAVE HAD SINCE I LAST PLAYED THE SONG OF TIME!!!! Indeed, this is what happens. An owl save file is deleted once you open it, forcing you to play the Song of Time or use another owl to save if you want to keep consistent progress. If you have a third party expansion pack(like I did before I ordered the official Nintendo one), you will never beat this game. Trust me.
Other then all of that, Majora's Mask plays similar to Ocarina of Time. You have to solve several puzzles in a dungeon, beat a boss, etc. The dungeons have several puzzles to solve in order to get small keys and the big key, so you can go to the room containing the boss. The Great Fairies make a return in MM, however they are all split up, so in order to get their upgrade you have to find the Stray Fairies that reside in each temple. There are fifteen in each. And you are only required to get one Great Fairy in the game, which is the Clock Town one that will give you the ability to shoot bubbles as Deku Link and will give you the Great Fairy Mask(which attracts stray fairies to you in the dungeons when you wear it) as normal Link(and there is only one stray fairy in Clock Town). Remember the Gold Skulltula sidequest from Ocarina of Time? Gold Skulltulas are in MM, however they only appear in two "Skulltula houses" in the entire game, and there are only 60 skulltulas total instead of the 100 in Ocarina of Time.
You can also store stuff in bottles as before. Many items make a return in Majoras Mask. The Hookshot and Bow are back, although they look slightly different then their Ocarina of Time counterparts. Also making a return are bombs, the Lens of Truth, fire, ice, and light arrows, iron boots(they are integrated in Zora Link, you can press the B while in water to make him dive to the bottom and then walk on the bottom of the ocean), boomerang(also usable as Zora Link) and the mirror shield. The Slingshot, hover boots, Megaton hammer, Master sword, Biggorons sword, and deku shield are not in Majora's Mask.
Majora's Mask requires the memory expansion pack for the Nintendo 64 in order to play it. This gives Majora's Mask a slight increase in graphics over Ocarina of Time. The rooms are now active 3d environments instead of the picture-looking rooms in Ocarina of Time with a fixed camera angle. Go inside any room in Majora's Mask and note that things actually move, such as the fireplaces burning(also, the camera is always behind Link like it normally is). In Ocarina of Time, fireplaces consisted of a small structure emitting a glow. Notice how in Ocarina of Time, certain buildings(like the Temple of Time) looked like a picture? I haven't seen this once in Majora's Mask. The environments also look much more colorful then they did in Ocarina of Time. Other things have improved, such as bottles. They now actually look like bottles(and depending on what you fill inside it the bottle can change color). In OOT, they looked like plastic bags with lids. At night, you can see the bottom of the doors glowing, suggesting that light from a fire inside is leaking outside through a crack in the door. Other things have received minor facelifts. For example, the items. The bow and hookshot have both have their design changed to a gold-like theme, as stated above. The masks all look good too, and Link looks decent in his alternate forms.
My main problem with the graphics is that Nintendo has reused the character models from Ocarina of Time. Epona and Link both look the same, and all of the NPCs look the same, although they have different identities(but still retain their general job for the most part). For example, the Gerudos from Ocarina of Time are now pirates. Zoras, Gorons, and Deku Scrubs are still.....Zoras, Gorons, and Deku Scrubs. Gravedigger Dampe is still Gravedigger Dampe. The two forms of Malon(adult and child) are now Cremia and Romani respectively. And they still run a ranch. The Hyrule castle guards now guard the Clock Town exits. The big change is the last temple boss from OOT now sells tour boat tickets on the swamp in this game. Very weird...
Nintendo did introduce SOME new ones however. Two examples are the Deku King and the bomber boys(who give you the Bomber's notebook early on, which lets you do all of those sidequests!) Also, the bosses are new. And everyone's favorite...TINGLE! He floats around in some areas, shoot him down and you can buy a map of the location. And of course, there is Goron, Zora, and Deku Link.
Overall, the graphics are very good for a Nintendo 64 game, but I thought it was a cheap decision to keep all of the same character models.
Zelda games have always been known for great music, and Majora's Mask is no exception.One of the most noticeable things about the music is that Nintendo included the classic Zelda overworld music for Termina Field, and it sounds fantastic. The rest of the music is excellent as well, except for the Deku Palace music. In addition, as the days go by, the Clock Town music goes faster, as if it's more urgent
The sound effects are also great, but have flaws. In the main part of Clock Town, a tower is being built(and it progressively gets larger each day). In that area, you can hear the sounds of hammers knocking nails into wood. Like the Clock Town music, the sound effects in Clock Town speed up as well as you get closer and closer to the end of the third day.
The problem with the sound effects is this: They're the same ones from Ocarina of Time. Like the character models, they're just recycled. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it would have been nice if Nintendo had created a few more new ones. At least Navi's "HEY! WISSEN!" is nowhere to be found on Tatl.
Overall, the music in Majora's Mask is great. The sound effects are recycled but they're still very good.
Like MANY Nintendo-developed games, Majora's Mask has very little violence. The only violence in this game is Link running through enemies with his sword. However, the game has a very dark story.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask may not be as well received as Ocarina of Time was but it is still a fantastic game. Anybody who owns a Nintendo 64(or a Wii, should this game appear on the Virtual Console one day) should definitely pick up MM, it's a great addition to the Zelda series. However, note that you need the Expansion pack for the N64(I was able to order one off of Nintendo's website).
-upgraded graphics from Ocarina of Time
-lots of sidequests and replayability
-main story is short
-recycled sound effects, character models
Final Score: 10/10
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 02/26/07
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